eter others from leaving their markings on private property and it does not helps that these artists are usually young and hard to catch committing this crime.

However, all across America, city officials are learning methods to channel and prevent this artistic expression from becoming destructive.

“Keep America Beautiful’s research shows that a mural usually doesn’t get tagged,” said Kristi Boyett of Keep Tyler Beautiful. “We partnered with JT (John Tyler) and REL (Robert E. Lee) to paint that mural on the loop.”

The wall used to be a constant mark for graffiti, but since the mural has been painted, it has not been vandalized and has added to the appeal of the area Boyett said.

Officials know that prevention includes monitoring hotspots, like schools.

“The majority of offenders in graffiti offenses, they are done by juveniles,” said Sergeant Lockhart of the Tyler Police Department.

Lockhart explained that anyone caught in the act of graffiting generally is arrested and charged with a misdemeanor offense depending on the severity of the crime.

Some in the community are choosing to turn this vandalism into community service projects. Adopt-a-spot, like Adopt-a-highway, offers citizens the chance to choose an area and clean it up.

“A student at JT is an amazing artist and drew up a sketch to paint over graffiti of everything [that is] Tyler,” Boyett said.

This sketch is going to be painted over a wall near Rose Stadium that is constantly targeted by vandals, Boyett said.

This method is not 100 percent effective. There are still murals mended with gray and white patches to cover where they have been tagged over.

Graffiti Hurts, an online community resource for graffiti prevention, lists methods proven to keep areas graffiti free and offers education to help communities better understand the causes and effects of graffiti.

For instance, many do not know that taxes fund graffiti clean ups.

Police also make attempts at preventing Graffiti.

“Our prevention includes the media and we do preventive patrols. We also work with TISD (Tyler Independent School District),” Lockhart said.

In some cities channeling has become the method of operation. “Legal walls” give youth a place where tagging is OK, as long as they are confined to just one area.

The success of “legal walls” is disputed. Although some cities have benefited from it, others have reported that this only sends mixed messages.

However, some partnerships have been a success.

“I have seen it (legal walls) be successful in other cities if they can get people to come forward,” Boyett said.

“This is not a tremendous problem in Tyler, but we would like to see it shrink.”

The Keep Tyler Beautiful Committee holds meetings and has a website, (www.keeptylerbeautiful.com),where they welcome suggestions and citizen participation.

“We would love to partner with artists and give them a wall and give them a place so they aren’t doing [this] on other peoples’ property,” Boyett said.

As for solutions, Keep Tyler Beautiful has a few progressive ideas.

“I would encourage kids who are out there graffiting to call me,” Boyett said. “And we wouldn’t prosecute them for anything, we would work with them to give them a place to do this.”

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